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Tis’ the Season to Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!

As the holidays draw near, many people get caught up in the hustle and bustle of last-minute shopping without stopping to ponder the excessive consumption of the season. During the holidays, the EPA reported that Americans produce about 1 million extra tons of trash each year, which means that the volume of household waste rises 25 percent above normal between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. Let us return to the altruistic nature of the season through the 3R’s!

Reduce

  • Waste reduction starts at the source. Consider the durability and life of a product when purchasing items and whether you really need them. You should buy high quality products that you will use more than once.
  • For gift-giving, you can reduce waste by giving tickets to a game, concert, or play, or even a gift certificate for a personal service.
  • For holiday parties, use cloth napkins, silverware, glass drinking cups and ceramic coffee mugs, and reusable plates rather than disposable plastic, styrofoam or paper. Rent party furnishings rather than buying things you will only use once a year.
  • Avoid gift wrap! If you buy gift wrap, look for recycled paper with the highest post-consumer content you can find. Reuse gift wrap. If you can’t, then recycle it.

Reuse

  • Instead of gift wrap, consider wrapping gifts in festive holiday fabric, dishtowels or bandannas, which can simply be washed and reused. You could also give gifts in reusable baskets, tins or jars. Always save any bows, ribbons and paper to reuse next year. Shred used wrapping paper to use as filler or instead of tissue.
  • When replacing old electronics or clothes with new ones, you can  donate the old items like cell phones or clothing to various organizations for reuse.
  • If you have extra food after your holiday meals, consider donating the leftovers or composting them. Donate whole, untouched leftovers from parties to a local food bank or homeless shelter.
  • After holiday festivities, put leftovers in recyclable containers, and share them with family, friends, or others. You can reuse plastic containers or glass jars for this purpose.

Recycle

  • Recycling reduces the need for landfills, decreases emissions of greenhouse gases that contribute to global climate change, conserves natural resources such as timber, water and minerals, and saves energy and prevents pollution.
  • There are numerous Christmas items you can recycle including aluminum foil, holiday cards, and gift wrap.
  • Make sure to recycle your Christmas tree at the end of the season, so that it can be converted into wood chips. Christmas Tree Collection will be from January 7-18, 2013 on your regular trash day. After January 18, holiday trees will not be recycled, but will be collected as trash on your regular trash collection day. Residents that do not have curbside recycling service may also bring their Christmas trees to the Solid Waste Bureau during the Christmas tree collection season.

By: Ali Minarcik

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